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John Locke

Western culture holds that a proper government is not the ruler of the citizens, but their servant. John Locke and America’s Founding Fathers are history's greatest advocates of this view of government.


John Locke (1632-1704)
The ideas of English philosopher John Locke strongly influenced America’s Founding Fathers. His ideas on the nature of rights and the proper role of government continue today to inspire people living under oppressive governments.
 
In The Second Treatise of Government, he chiefly explains how individuals have certain natural rights. And he explains how government is instituted by the consent of those governed for the purpose of protecting these rights. The power of government, according to Locke, must be limited to this function for the government to be legitimate.

And Locke holds that a government that fails to protect rights or uses its power to violate rights may be justifiably overthrown by the citizens and replaced by a new, legitimate government. The Second Treatise of Government remains a mostly clear and understandable work to this day.
 
The Second Treatise of Government is online and available free here.

Government Spending

 

 

 

Americans have grown increasingly knowledgeable – and increasingly concerned – about the government’s recent explosion of spending and debt. Americans also have begun to understand there really is no “free lunch.” Washington’s fiscal recklessness has consequences, and these consequences grow exponentially worse with every day policymakers fail to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.

The Consequences of Overspending

  • Higher Taxes, Higher Cost of Living
  • America’s Credit Score
  • Dampened Economic Growth, Fewer Job Opportunities
  • Less Flexibility
  • Crushing Burden on Future Generations

Higher Taxes, Higher Cost of Living
No government money is free money. Every dollar the government spends must be taken from the private sector through taxation, inflation, or borrowing. Right now, the government is financing its overspending through borrowing and incurring debt that will have negative consequences.

As the national debt grows out of control, policymakers will likely contemplate major tax hikes and increasing the money supply to pay our debt with less valuable money.

Tax increases hamper economic recovery and hinder prospects of future growth.

Increasing the money supply leads to higher prices and makes American families’ savings less valuable.

America’s Credit Score
Last year, Moody’s Investor Service warned that, unless the United States reduced its debt, the renowned credit agency would consider downgrading the U.S. debt rating from AAA status for the first time in history. [i]Yet Washington still continues to spend under a heavy debt burden and heavy financial obligations.

Downgrading the U.S. debt rating would signal to lenders that the U.S. has a higher potential of default and is no longer the lowest-risk investment.

As Congress struggles to balance the budget and manage out-of-control debt levels, America must compete with other nations to borrow money. Because of the increased risk associated with buying U.S. debt, investors would likely require a higher interest rate. This would push U.S. interest payments higher, and worsen the country’s debt situation.

Dampened Economic Growth, Fewer Job Opportunities
Many economists agree that high government spending can hurt the economy, while lowering spending can spur job creation and economic growth.[ii]

Though spending has increased from $2.7 trillion to $3.5 trillion over the last four years, small businesses and families are still struggling to make ends meet.[iii]

Why? Government spending crowds out spending by the private sector. Each dollar spent by government – whether local, state, or federal – is a dollar that has to be raised by taxing the private sector.

Less Flexibility
By 2020, interest payments and entitlement programs (such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid) will consume more than 90 percent of projected federal revenues, or 90 cents out of every dollar collected in taxes.[iv]

This means less than 10 percent of tax revenue will be left to fund all other government functions: from providing for defense and homeland security to education and the environment. Any additional spending will be done with borrowed money.

If nothing is done to address our under-funded entitlement programs, the programs’ beneficiaries, taxpayers, and the security of our nation will pay a price.

Crushing Burden on Future Generations
Between 2011 and 2020 interest payments on the debt, adjusted for inflation, will more than triple – spiking from $213 billion, to $762 billion.[v]

When more of our money goes to pay interest on our debt, there is less money available to spend on other priorities. This is true for the government, since a growing portion of the federal budget will be spent on interest payments, and also for the economy overall, since more resources will be eaten up by interest.

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Transparency Resources

2011-2012 Illinois Policy Institute Legislators Guide to the Issues

The Bureaucracy's Role in Government

The primary purpose of the bureaucracy is to administer the laws and policies passed by Congress and the president by establishing programs, promulgating rules and regulations, and creating infrastructures to deliver benefits in accordance with the language and intent of the enabling legislation. Sometimes, however, bureaucracies make policy as well. This occurs in two ways.

Iron Triangles

The term “iron triangle” is used to describe the alliance formed by Congress, bureaucrats, and interest groups to make public policy in the group's domain. These iron triangles are often referred to as “subgovern-ments,” and typically operate outside the conscious view of Congress, the president, and the public.

A first cousin of the iron triangle is the “captured agency.” This occurs when an agency promulgates rules favorable to (not critical of) the interest group it's supposed to be regulating. Interest groups “capture” agencies by applying political pressure to members of Congress, who in turn apply pressure to the regulating agency.

Iron triangles have been making policy for several decades, and they operate on the theory of mutual self-interest. Bureaucrats are dependent on Congress for continued authorization and funding, so it is in their interest to work closely with Congressional committees and subcommittees that have jurisdiction over their departments. Likewise, members of Congress gladly solicit legislative input and direction from the interest groups in return for campaign contributions and electoral support. In the end, all parties benefit from the relationship: Congress receives campaign contributions, interest groups get favorable legislation, and bureaucrats preserve their jobs and enhance their standing.

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